NESCent Education and Outreach

Reading List

summer logo

This reading list was initiated at the Evolution 2009: Workshop for Educators.  The list includes books for instructors and students in middle and high school.  The readings cover a range of biological topics as well as the nature of science.  Suggestions for additional materials may be sent to

Reading Selections



New York Times Science

  • Regular pieces by Sean Carroll
  • Regular pieces by Olivia Judson
  • Videos


Science and It’s Way of Knowing

Ed. John Hatton and Paul Plouffe

The Plague

Albert Camus

Mr. Darwin’s Shooter

Roger McDonald

The Nature of Life

From Great Books Foundation

To Know a Fly

Vincent Gaston Dethier

Essays by John McPhee


Dr. Seuss

There’s a hair in my dirt!

Gary Larson


Daniel Quinn

The Clergy Letter

Who Really Killed Cock Robin?

Jean Craighead George

A Short History of Everything

Bill Bryson

Universal Robots

Carol Kapek

Evolution as a Religion

Mary Midgley

Jefferson Bass series on forensics

A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life

Craig Ventner


Carol Dweck

Tears of a Cheetah: The Genetic Secrets of Our Animal Ancestors

Stephen O’Brien

Harry Potter series

J.K. Rowling


Mary Shelley

Voices for Evolution

Carrie Sager

Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of Species

Lynn Marguilis and Dorian Sagan

North Carolina: The Years Before Man

Fred Byer

Exploring the Geology of the Carolinas

Kevin Stewart and Mary Russell Roberts

Never  Cry Wolf

Farley Mowat

How People Learn

J.D.Bransford, A.L.Brown, R.R. Cocking, editors

National Academies Press, 2000

Evolutionary Science and Society: Educating a New Generation

Joel Cracraft and Rodger Bybee, Eds

Evolutionary Science and Society: Activities for the Classroom

Roger Bybee, Ed

BSCS, 2006

Endless Forms Most Beautiful


The Making of the Fittest

Sean Carroll

Origin of Species

Charles Darwin

The Voyage of the Beagle

Charles Darwin

Guns, Germs and Steel



Jared Diamond

TED Talk Video

Every Living Thing

Rob Dunn

Rob Dunn's Talk at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences (as part of NESCent's 2009 Darwin Speaker Series)

The Panda's Thumb

Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes

An Urchin in the Storm

Stephen J. Gould

The Evolving World

David Mindell

The Naked Ape

Desmond Morris

Teaching About Evolution and the Nature of Science

National Academies, 1998

Evolution in Hawaii

Steve Olson

National Academies of Science, 2004

The Reluctant Mr. Darwin

David Quammen

Galileo's Daughter

Dava Sobel

The Beak of the Finch

Jonathan Weiner

Understanding by Design

Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe

Download Overview

Evolution: the Triumph of an Idea

Carl Zimmer, 2001

Your Inner Fish

Neil Shubin, 2008



Image credits:Eurypterus fossil - FunkMonk; Molecular alignment - Josh Granek; Earth - NASA; Ganzania bloom - Sam Oth